Living in a White Box: Savvy Studios

Living in a White Box Savvy Studios apartment rental decorating tips series The Decor Guru Welcome to the latest installment of my Living in a White Box series, Savvy Studios. This series is all about how you can make the most of your white box, AKA apartment, dorm room, or other rental home. It can be challenging to deal with all the restrictions us renters have, but this series will show you a creative, unique home is very doable! One of most challenging of rental homes is a studio apartment. Because most of these spaces lack defined rooms, the renter is left to his/her own creative devices. My first apartment was a studio. It was perfect for the time, as I had little furniture and little money. Back then, my decorating style was not on point yet--- I was just getting started. But, I did learn how to distinguish the living areas, like carving out a "bedroom." Continue reading for my ideas and inspiration on how you can turn your studio into a savvy home.

Perhaps the biggest concern about living in an open floorplan is not having a separate place to sleep—and most people don’t want futons. My first apartment was L-shaped, so that allowed me to branch off space from the living room as my bedroom. It was similar to how designer Leslie Banker used curtains to separate the sleeping area in this studio. The curtains are great as they can be drawn for privacy (or to hide a messy bed when you have company).

Check out how Catie from Dronning Vintage used her apartment’s closet as a bedroom! It’s a tight spot, but I’d so do this if I were single and had this kind of space. Having the bed here makes this a truly separate space for sleeping and would feel so cozy.

Another method for creating a bedroom in an open floorplan is with freestanding structures. Head over to The Projectory to see how Maura and her dad built this box-like structure for her bed. An added bonus is how it’s added another area for her apartment, like the pantry area on the left.

Separate bed structure by Projectory Handcrafts Living in a White Box Savvy Studios apartment rental decorating tips series The DIY Homegirl

The Brooklyn Home Company carved out a bedroom in this studio using a platform bed and lath panels. I love how the wall coordinates in with the rest of the home’s decor– it adds sophistication to this studio.

Brooklyn Home Company freestanding wall platform bed Living in a White Box Savvy Studios apartment rental decorating tips series The DIY Homegirl

This apartment used plastic crates to create a partition between the living room and bedroom. I love how the partition doubles as storage and cubbies to add decorative elements.

Lucite and glass furniture are helpful for giving the illusion of more space in a small home. Jacqueline from York Avenue added extra seating to her NYC studio with this Louis ghost armchair.


York Avenue Expedit wall lucite furniture NYC studio Living in a White Box Savvy Studios apartment rental decorating tips series The DIY Homegirl

Bedrooms aren’t the only areas that need defining in a small space. While I no longer live in a studio, my current apartment lacks an actual dining room. To resolve this, I used a corner of the living room to assign as a dining area. The pendant lamp helps to differentiate this space, yet the decor blends in seamlessly with the living room.

Opal silk open floorplan dining room living room pendant lamp Living in a White Box Savvy Studios apartment rental decorating tips series The Decor Guru

Double-duty furniture is a great way to make the most of your small studio. Naseem used an Ikea Melltorp dining table for her living room workspace. This can easily revert to its original function when hosting company.

IKEA Melltorp dining table doubles as desk open floorplan Living in a White Box Savvy Studios apartment rental decorating tips series The DIY Homegirl

Have you ever lived in a studio, loft, or other open floorplan space? If so, did you carve out specific areas like a bedroom? What tips do have for making the most of a studio?

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6 Comments on Living in a White Box: Savvy Studios

  1. Love all of these ideas for small spaces!! Right now my dining room is also my office… Any suggestions?

    • If you have a desk and want to use it as a dining table, I’d make sure the items you keep on top are easily moveable. Flexibility would be key in that instance, so your space can be double-duty. Other than that, maybe decorate it as a combo of both rooms so it doesn’t strictly look like a dining room or office. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Great ideas! Some of these could also be adopted when two children share a room, but like to have their own space.

  3. Hi DIY homegirl, I just found your website and am SO excited for this series! I’ve downsized a few times in quick succession and am trying to figure out how to deal with my H-shaped studio. The living/bed area is ok, but I have an area off the kitchen which I think I want to be a workspace/dining space for when I have guests. Here it is, in all its cluttered glory (working on that, too!)
    Any tips?! Thanks and off to read your other posts 🙂

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